Mail.com Buys Chinese Portal, Plans World.com

HONG KONG (03/28/2000) - Mail.com Inc., a messaging vendor that owns a portfolio of domain names including usa.com, europe.com and asia.com, today announced it will form an incubator company called World.com to build e-commerce businesses.

It kicked off the strategy with the agreement today to acquire China-based eLong.com, which will be a cornerstone of its Asia.com business, Mail.com said in a statement today. Mail.com will buy the company in an all-stock transaction, for approximately 3.6 million shares. At Monday's closing price of US$18.125 on Nasdaq, the deal would be worth approximately $65 million.

The World.com subsidiary of Mail.com will incubate and develop business-to-business and business-to-consumer e-commerce sites. It will build geographic sites including usa.com, asia.com, europe.com, japan.com, india.com, london.com and rome.com, as well as profession-oriented sites including doctor.com, engineer.com, journalist.com, lawyer.com, accountant.com and scientist.com, the company said.

All the sites will take advantage of Mail.com's capital, infrastructure, and relationships, according to the company.

Asia.com, a majority-owned unit of World.com, will operate a network of sites targeted at markets including Korea, Thailand and Singapore as well as Greater China, the company said. World.com will own 94.1 percent of the company and certain elong.com shareholders will own approximately 5.9 percent, according to the statement.

Mail.com today provides outsourced e-mail services for corporations, Web portals, and Internet service providers. Following the creation of the World.com operation, it will continue with these offerings, according to the company. Mail.com founder and President Gary Millin will become chief executive officer of World.com.

Elong.com provides localized information for a number of cities in China, including Beijing, Guangzhou, Shanghai, Wuhan and others. It offers news, business, sports and shopping information as well as e-mail and reservation services. It is working with Motorola Inc. to offer its content on mobile devices via WAP (Wireless Application Protocol), according to Mail.com.

Mail.com is in New York and can be reached at +1-212-425-4200 or online at http://www.mail.com.

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